Amongst the Chaos

Oh hey there! Haven’t seen you in a little bit… amongst all the chaos of the last 10 days, accompanied by my LAD I have managed to finish my walk of Yorkshire, do plenty of writing, doodle down some things, have some quiet and loud times back in Leeds and have made it back to Switzerland for three, sunny and warm days late in their Spring.

It’s a funny thing actually, I always thought I would struggle to push myself and meet new people, making real friends. It almost like felt like a dream or a story, hearing about others tales of the friends and adventures they have had while walking their paths. At the back of my mind I always wondered with some anxiety, how would I meet people? How do I start conversations? What if no one connects with me? Because let’s be honest, I can be ‘weird’ or strange to others, I mean have you seen me dressed up as a fairy?!!

The people I have met, have connected with, have become real friends with, whether it be in Malaysia, England, Ireland, Wales or Switzerland, whether they are young, retired, a bird watcher, director or studying languages, people have shown me nothing but kindness, love, respect and friendship. It hurts my little heart, but also makes me think I must be doing something right, that fills my stomach with butterflies of all sorts of colours and sizes, to have been surrounded by so many unbelievable people along my path so far. So first of all;

THANK YOU!

Thank you if you have even popped up out of a rabbit hole on the side of the path I have been walking and said hello, if I have had the chance to look into the swirly blackness of your eyes or even if you just swung by and made me smile.

As for afterwards, he slept as easily has he had on the previous night. Perhaps even better: in the first place because he was really tired, and secondly because the step he had taken had filled him with the quiet satisfaction which comes with completing one leg of the journey… Another reason for sleeping soundly could have been the carrying out of his conjugal duties, but why fulfill them according to the standards and expectations of others?

As for Courrier, he had his whole life ahead of him, and slept the more soundly for it.

Much like the translated text ‘The Alphonse Courrier Affair’ I feel like I can sleep better now… As I can sit in the airport, playing a game following the story of an old man who goes on an adventure much like mine, in a state of finishing one leg of the race, being myself and understanding my life has only just begun…

You know I never really thought there were this many good people in the world, then again maybe yet again I am just one of the lucky, white, middle class men who seem to always seem to fall into perfect situations… I don’t know…
Now I’m at a point where I am writing the things that pop up in my mind, I’m writing a book chapter by chapter, I’m creating poems and I am using these pages as a way to clear my brain. The way I can describe it is like an adventurous night of dungeons and dragons;

Writing is everything, like D’n’D, no boundaries apart from the dice, symbols, gear and the way your body gains enough courage to write it all down on your little piece of paper, even though it’s all happening in your head.

Actually while I’m talking about fantasy and things happening in your head, I did write this when I was walking, and boy oh boy is it true. I called it For Too Long.

• For too long had I played computer games.

Far too long had I used my imagination, to live the life I had always dreamed through Elvish and Breton names.

Walking the mountains slowly, through snow, sun, rain and stars. Watching the wildlife without harming it and picking up flowers just to look at and store in my characters house, built with his own unconscious hands.

Living simply, hoarding antiques, reading non-fiction books in a fictitious world and discovering far off lands, cultures and people.

In Skyrim I always felt alive until…

I’d take the surrounded sound headphones off, adapt my eyes to the sunlight once the blinds were pulled up and I’d sit there and cry, because, it all meant nothing…

Little did I know, still twenty three, just over the pond, around the corner, over the hill, I would be living my life I had already lived in a realistic, 3-D, fantasy world.

Living it, discovering it, smelling the rotting books in that abbey, touching the stone filled with life and finding my ownn slice of ‘Sovngarde’, this time though, not as a lizard, cat, elf or orc but myself!

– Nerd

Now walking, talking and being something more than nothing, well being nothing, which is technically something, *that hurt* I met a guy called Kevin, What a legend! Anyway talking with him I actually only realised when I started my trip I wasn’t going to be walking and it just came about from a simple two hour walk from Manchester to Middleton in a pair of brand spanking new Doc Martens. Nothing really important but, instead of being a big planned event it’s cool to think things change!

Okay back to it. When I was walking I realised I’d become so happy I was almost expecting myself to be happy all the time, or expecting myself to not be able to feel anything but. I realised that this is a really dangerous thing. I mean I am human, I will feel sad sometimes, I will feel happy sometimes, I will want to throw my hands in the air and do something illegal… to expect yourself not to feel a certain way is more detrimental to me than actually having that feeling I feel like I shouldn’t! It was like a weight rose off my shoulders when I actually consciously decided this. I don’t need to feel a certain way at any time, I don’t need to feel the way I expect people to want me to feel, hmmm! This alone made me feel a billion times happier because it freed me from my own rules! I am really happy don’t get me wrong, but I had a strange feeling one night on my walk. I hadn’t felt it for a long time, it’s another feeling I can’t describe with English words. Instead I have to explain the image I see when I feel it though and when I actually sat down and wrote this feeling or picture I realised how fantastic pencil to paper is to me!

Sometimes when I’ve felt sad, yes sad, not depressed, but really, really ducking sad, I feel hollow when I shut my eyes. All I can see is a little person, curled up in a ball in the corner of a corner less room. Pitch black the room expands inside of me, a bit like when you look up after staring at the road for a while and it seems like everything is trying to get as far away as possible from you. Yeah…

I felt something similar to that, but like I said not from sadness, to be honest I’m not sure why I felt it… but I did, and I’m fine with it now I’ve said to myself I know I’m happy but I know I can feel other things!

When I made it to Switzerland I met some pretty incredible people, I’d categorise them as superstars, 11/10! But what I wanted to say is like that feeling I can’t always describe words with the language I know. Anja, Ella and Ha-Babe all had a really cool discussion with me about different words in different languages and cultures! Things we don’t have in English for instance;

Waldeinskameit (German) – the feeling of being alone in the woods.

Or

[one for Pete] Jayus (Indonesian) – a joke told so poorly and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.

Words I can’t actually say! Coooooool! But imagine how many words there are that mean important things or have such a meaning we can’t even explain them or understand how to explain them in English. Like the unconditional love you feel for your family, or like me those times you feel really, really sad or on the contrary indescribley happy!

Alright that enough, now I’m back in Leeds and I get to hang out with some pretty special people, you know those people I was taking about before, the ones that make me feel happy, smile and like a big kid again.

Here’s some photos of a range of these perfect specimens!

Hope you’re doing well whoever is reading this! In these times of uncertainty and amongst all the chaos make sure you sit back listen to some funky music, have a dance, listen, help, challenge, smile, feel, in the words of Kate Tempest:

Hold your own!

Love you!

The Boy Who Lives

This is a photo of a real dragon, in a real castle in Scarborough, how perfect.

Now this post is a little different, it doesn’t have my jar of Vegemite in the photo firstly and well you can read and judge for yourself to see the rest…

Okay, since I’ve been away, coming into my fifth month, lots has happened. I have met lots of amazing people, heard lots of amazing stories, experienced a lot of amazing moments and learnt an absolute pint full of amazing things. However, it hasn’t been all that, it hasn’t been all colourful rainbows, green fields you could only dream of and lessons in history that you could picture hearing about in fairytales. No, a lot, especially when in between places, walking my path, it has been sweaty, dirty, smelly, painful, quiet, tedious, overwhelming and different.

I have found that walking into the unknown, has both its benefits and its negatives, has both ups and downs like those luscious, soft and rolling hills. The point being for me I have been changing, you guys can probably see that in the writing I’ve been doing, I have sure said it enough times. I have been changing through the good times and I have been changing through the better times.

I have discovered eyes of a child, I have found a subtle happiness in thinking about things and writing them down, I have found myself laughing at sometimes nothing, sometimes hysterical things; like kids face planting after losing control running down a steep hill or cows licking my bag till it’s wet the whole way through. I told Jack this yesterday morning, I said I can’t wait for the rest of my life, I can’t wait to live feeling like this.

I know there will be challenges, pain and sadness, but I’m happy knowing I’m ready to tackle them head on and use this knowledge that I have and am going to continue gaining to take this journey ahead.

Today I heard as I sat on the sparkling Scarborough sand, letting the winds glide through my clothes, basking in the sun, watching people fly kites, surf in the waves and fail setting up a tent, a voice.

Now I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the movie The Skateboard Kid? I know Brad and I definitely have, but, in the movie this boy goes to a fortune teller in a glass box, Zoltar or Zoltan or something. Today I heard this mystical voice and I knew I had to give him my money… So all pride aside, the pervert took my new one pound coin, which by the way is quite a pretty coin, so well done England. Zoltar gave me his advice and out popped a little ticket with my fortune. Didn’t matter what it said I haven’t even read it all, it’s in my wallet and will be there until it’s stolen or disintegrates. Little things like this make me super grateful of everything.

You don’t need much to travel, I have been living out of my bag on around £5 a day and that’s luxury living. A book to write in, a pencil (which is nearly finished), a book to read, a Yu-Gi-Oh card Kurt gave me, a £2 pocket watch, a 50p Star Wars figurine I picked up in Todmorden on my travels, as well as a tent, broken sleeping bag, maps, compass, day to day food and water and some walking boots. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be beautiful, but it can be an adventure, it can be cheap, it can be phenomenal if you take your first steps.

Mum used to say “if you want to do it you can” and I think for most people I know, most people who read this, we are lucky enough for it to be true. It might seem crazy, but everything is crazy, ‘weird’ is you will, if you’ve never done it. It’s once you drop your sense of need, want and comfort it becomes something, well that’s what happened to me so I assume it can for anyone. Now don’t get me wrong you can give and give and life can still wee all over you.

If you expect the world to be fair with you because you’re fair, you’re fooling yourself.

That’s like expecting the lion to not eat you because you didn’t eat him.

But believe life can be good, give it a shot, stay humble, stay open, stay respectful, help others and you can do it, I believe in you, I think you’re amazing, I think you’re fantastic, I think you can do it.

Two Coffees – One for me and one for the other guy.

I had two coffees today, it made me feel high. I bought one for myself and one for the other guy.

Two coffees, three pounds eighty in total. ‘That’s 20p more than breakfast’, ‘why is the weather so horrible?’

That’s how easy it is to do, sit and complain. In a world so full of bullshit, two coffees might not sound so insane.

Two coffees, three pounds eighty in total. One for me, and, one for some random local.

– Hope that coffee tastes like the sunshine behind the clouds.

And as for that real dragon in the real castle on top of the hill at Scarborough, this is his story.

One day a boy stumbled upon a castle, tall, strong so full of life. He had read books but never stepped inside. As he ventured in, the boy could hear the heavy breathing and the warm, moist air that filtered through the gaps in the metal bars settled on his skin. He entered tentatively, that doesn’t matter, because he did enter, even when all his body wanted to do was run. The things he imagined about what that dragon could do to a man, about how horrid a beast they can be, about the razor sharp claws and the ferocious teeth. The boy stumbled, walking through the dark, until eventually, he walked into a room, open full of light, full of trees, full of falling waterfalls, butterflies to accompany the arrays of wild flowers. In the corner a real life dragon, ruby red, sitting, smiling, welcoming the boy with open arms to his little paradise that for so long had gone, unnoticed, unappreciated, unfairly thought of as a place of darkness and unhappiness. Almost like a fairytale, almost…

Also happy Mother’s Day Mum. Love you, thanks for being there, for letting me be me and for you being you since I, ‘The One True Joy’ of your life was ejected from the womb.

Obviously In[visible]

Okay here we go, another attempt at writing some organic, free-range, hand fed thoughts, ideas and experiences. I made it from Newcastle, to Durham, back to Whitby, through Robin Hoods Bay and now down to Scarborough. I’ve been writing a lot, talking a lot less and realising ‘Obviously Invisible’ things about myself and the world around me.


We start with a couple of quick things I’ve noticed about my walking, they go as follows:

– Whitby was the first place I could smell easily. The dried out seaweed and the salty air.

– I like leading with my left foot even though I’m right footed.

– Going East seems more downhill (A bit like Treebeard, who likes going South)

– I prefer going up, it’s more interesting, like when I used to run cross country.

– I found out on the train, writing isn’t easy, unless I have something to say, unless I am ready to empty my brain.

There you go easy. Obviously Invisible.

Next, after I made it to Durham, I checked out the place, unbelievable river, incredible castle, church and surrounding courtyards and quite a beautiful story on how and why it was all built on top of that hill. Saint Cuthbert and his story, if you have a chance check it out. So the day was still young and I had seen everything and was happy at that, it was a gorgeous day, so I decided to walk and find my spot to sleep. Eventually I found a nice place, over a ridge, down a steep hill to land on a flat and comfortable piece of ground in the middle of some forest. I was in between three main paths used by runners, bike riders and families, however, I seemed ‘Obviously Invisible’. For seven hours, I lay in the same position, listening, watching, senses hightened, napped two times and only at one point did someone notice I was where I was. A little fact I only said seventeen words this day…

Anyway, a little boy, curious as ever ventured off the track from above and peered over the edge of the ridge, I could hear the questioning to his mum “who is that?”, “what’s he doing?” Anyway she took no notice and they were never seen or heard from again.

Children have this strange ability to stare, stare at everything, because everything they are seeing, is for the first time. I want to live like that. I mean I have seen trees before, but after this kid came along, it made me want to look again at the bark, scratches, new leaves and old ones too. It made me think though and write, in amongst my sketches and pages, I put this down,

No matter how unhappy, how disappointed, how busy, how angry you get, the clock keeps ticking… I realised today in this forest how fast it can actually tick. Seven hours went by as I watched the trees change in the light and go through here daily routine, sitting there, invisible to everyone apart from one child who wanted to see over the edge of that steep drop. So if you begin to feel down or everything becomes too much, spare a thought for yourself and remember you were that adventurous once. Maybe you just need to take a look again and peek over that ridge, ‘or you’ll never know or even worse never remember what it’s like to be curious.’

This day of complete silence, I didn’t learn anything really, but to be that close to reality, someone’s reality, but be in my own bubble of stillness watching and listening the world go by was nice. It made me realise, I can’t really be bored even in the quiet moments.

Okay third story this one was from this morning…

Today I woke up, not to nothing as I have become accustomed with when I wild camp, but to Jack.

Jack was an old man unzipping my tent (creepy I know)… but hold on it gets much better. It was wet outside raining and it obviously had been for a while because I was sleeping in a puddle and everything in and around my tent was soaking. See last night I set up my tent in between two trees, just off the path in the darkness because I thought it looked ‘Obviously Invisible’. It wasn’t and the little crack of Earth I slid my body inside of wasn’t anything less than a stream by his stage. See Jack was on his morning walk and he wanted to make sure I was okay in my Obviously Visible tent location… he invited me back to his to get dry and have some tea. 6am in the rain, what a guy, so I packed up and away we went.

Jack was a retired farmer who now lives in Robin Hoods Bay alone and likes to sail. He told me amongst our exciting conversations, he once got to go down to London when he was my age to see a show, it must of be grand I thought. He was a warm, kind and weathered man, when I asked about why he was walking this morning in the rain his reply was “the rain doesn’t bother me, I actually prefer it to the sun” I agreed and sipped my tea, hands finally alive again after the mornings chill.

I wrote this for him – Jack and Me

It was love at first sight, his warm, brown eyes open and alive. 77, alone in the rain, there is no time to waste. Tea and toast he tried my Vegemite, I still can’t believe this wise, friendly delight. Thanks Jack.

Form – perfect can’t exist without something equal to compare it to – Socrates/Plato

I like to think Jack was a perfect form.

Now even though I wasn’t ‘Obviously Invisible’ today was the first day I woke up drenched and there was a feeling of infinity, never ending wetness. I was soaked the whole day through, 14 miles of *SQUELCH*

It wasn’t a hard walk, I don’t want to pretend like it was, it was cold though, the cliff walk, freezing me down to the core as I placed each foot in front of the last. Strangely I welcomed the rain, it felt different, raw, real, whatever you or I would like to call it, it was happening.

Up and down through fields, up and down over horribly positioned stone steps, up and down, up and down, until my pace became a pattern, natural. Like the bag after two days of walking I wasn’t effected by the dampness, my feet made strange sounds but at least it was uncomfortably comfortable!

There was a strange eerieness when the rain broke, as a mist would find its way around me, confine me, to a space no more than five metres in each direction. I met no one, I saw almost nothing and today, I have never been so close to buying a croissant with my hand crafted coffee in Scarborough. I didn’t.

Today made it all worthwhile again, Scarborough, is a strange place, beautiful and I feel calm in the weather, moist… but calm. I seriously can’t get over my mind, it has been brought back since I started writing things down, clear, and with this comes a real sense of happiness and clarity wherever I am. Two weeks down, one to go and in all honesty I am almost ready to see my mates again.

That is me being ‘Obviously Visible’ I’m going to write down some poems and assortment of things that have happened so I jotted them down, so you can run away to your life if you want. Love you.

1 – The first one is a cheeky one for JM who I had a brief message with the other day. Look after yourself!

The excitement in life is because you’re struggling up that hill, one day you’ll reach the top. Here at the crest where all that nervousness, anguish and pain has led, you will be able to enjoy the view. Just keep climbing, endure the struggle and always remain hopeful the crest might just be worth it.

2 – Why do cars pass on the right in England, but people pass on the left when on an elevator?

3 – Why is it always the old ones?

Three people, all older than me, A priest, a philosopher and a woman, gives me some cake for free. Reciting his lines like a kid in a play, Dylan Thomas for me, and something for the birds to make them all a little more happy. Three people, all grey no doubt, but three people by the lake, all wandering about.

Time flies when you don’t stop and take a look around.

4 – What is the physics of a pigeons jump? I just watched one jump onto a rock higher than it’s head…

5 – 21st Century Man:

I’m sitting up on the cliff eyes towards the sea. When I notice a little speck, a man, standing at the edge of the rocks during low tide. Gazing out into the ocean just like me, he holds his staff. A wizard to some, maybe even Moses to others, he looks dominate, like he is controlling the water, the tides and the crashing of the waves where he stands.

Look a little longer and realise maybe it’s just a tripod and he wants to take an amazing picture of the shipwreck, pressed up against the cliff like everyone else. One snap and bang! He’s a 21st Century Man.

6 – Take a page from her little red book, walking through a town named after Robin Hood. Little lanes, quirky shops with even quirkier doors, ‘but have you seen the crab poo and shit?’

Punching darts and breaking hearts, three women enjoy their phones and stairs made of glass. Canvas shoes on steady cement slabs, I wonder where all those crabs are at?

“Im telling ya you’re an alcoholic!” One of then shouts, “taxpayers paying for your smoking and cancer after that.” “Sssshhhh, that’s enough, the biggest lady says as she needs to sit”, ‘have you even seen the crab poo and shit?’ – Seaside Chats.

7 – Gravity of Life

One young man, wellies up to his knees.

Trying to jump, but can’t as he’d please.

Red jacket, brown pants, he could be in strife.

As he fools around with the gravity of life.

*He may be one of the lucky ones, but doesn’t mean his legs will let him jump*

8 – I just watched a bird balance when it landed using its wings like someone’s flailing arms!

9 – ‘Probably the best pizza in Dublin, we haven’t tried them all’ (that is my favourite pizza sign I’ve ever seen, 11/10)

10 – Myst.

Mum used to play a game called Myst, I found it hard, but she stuck it out, she couldn’t resist.

Can’t remember if she ever finished it even though I’ve asked, but that’s a bit of a sad thought like a person hiding behind a mask.

I’m on top of a cliff as I write, still nowhere to sleep tonight, but I’m watching the ocean, unlocking its doors, Consumed by the horizon full of ‘myst’, the distance paints a history of wars.

Can’t take a picture, so I have to sit and scribble, a picture wouldn’t work anyway, lacking emotion, feeling and the airs chilly nibble.

English Seagulls are bloody giants…

11 – 165.

There once lived a woman up a very steep hill. 165 she was said to be.

Every evening, whether you believe me or not, this woman would peg up her socks in her white dressing gown, pink flowers and all, can you see?

165?!!

Old you might think, but the truth is, 165 stairs was the only link…

*How much for the house ma’am? £165, Please*

12 – There has been heaps of times on my trip, little moments where I notice something, A hole in a hedge, a door down some steps or a patch, dark and trees covering.

Somewhere where the fairies might roam, the gnomes may trick, or perhaps where the story could unfold and build me a homemade of red brick.

I just techs Scarborough, a police I always heard crackle on record, so Simon and Garfunkle, the fair is waiting and I am walking into another dream, abroad.

[What a time to be alive…]

Spring – Bringing Life back to the world since 1993.

‘Ah finished’ My first book since I’ve been away. But now I’m thinking how hard and emotional it must be for a writer to actually finish writing. I mean that is a lot of hours, a lot of effort.

The other night as I walked to South Gosforth I came upon an allotment project. I want to garden it’s something I can picture loving, like everything else. This doesn’t mean anything, I just wanted to say it.

Although since walking I have discovered my love for the pencil, it feels easy, like we are connected, an extension of my brain through my fingers. Even if the wood comes from the destruction of the trees I want to grow one day.

Last night I felt strange actually talking again when I arrived it was exciting, fun, easy as well considering I had been almost completely silent for the past 4 days, everything connecting as it can.

This is where I want to start, since I have been following my path I have either been seeing or actively experiencing the bond between a ridiculous amount of things. For instance, in Selby, after my first brutal night of walking towards York, I sat looking battered, watching people passing so early in the morning. One man on my left, only feet away appeared from behind the statue, with two beautiful dogs. Both displaying a look of terror, I was about to understand why. Collars tight, pulled against ‘their’ will the man didn’t want them to move as he quickly fumbled through his pockets in search of his wallet, while the inanimate atm stared blankly at him. The next thing I saw, which broke my heart…

Two children. One boy. One girl. They couldn’t have been older than six or seven. It was at this moment that the father passed on the leads to his children, what do you think happened next?… the boy copying his almighty dads actions instantly, almost before he even had the red leather lead in his tiny, impressionable fingers began tugging, pulling, choking the precious pup. Yelling ‘SIT! I SAID SIT!’ As he struggled and the dog whimpering, scared constantly reacted with a hidden face, tail between its legs and still not SITting…

That sucked, sucks will continue to suck, probably for a long time, I just hope that dog finds some sort of happiness in that house, and that child finds something to reverse his learnt behaviours. Before they left I went over to the family of five and gave each dog a scratch and asked the boy what his dogs name was, I felt creepy as I looked dirty and battered like I said before so I don’t blame him for shying away, £££ out of the machine the dad walked away and his pets followed.

Teaching a child not to stand on a caterpillar, is just as valuable to the child as it is the caterpillar.

Now that is one side of the story, one boy learning something from someone he holds close and trusts, should trust.

They are adults. You already know what that means, they can’t be trusted – Whistle Down the Wind

The other side of the story comes from Charles Darwins works I found at the Newcastle Library yesterday. It goes;

I acted cruely. I beat a puppy… This act lay heavier on my conscience from my love of dogs being then, and for a long time afterwards, a passion

It also sucks, as a child, as an adult as humans we do make mistakes and they live on forever no matter the change that comes from it or the apology given.

However, if it’s possible to do bad, ‘cruel’, horrid things it’s also possible to do great things that matter, that help. I want to balance out my life and one day, when my time is up, I want to feel the feet of the people I helped, changed or touched if I’m lucky enough, walking their paths just like I have. Feeling the vibrations of great things being done as I become one with the Earth again.

I’m saying this, I am sorry, to everyone and anyone whose collar I have pulled too tight, squished with my boot or ‘beat’ like Darwin did to that puppy. You didn’t deserve that, no-one deserves that and it will eat away at me forever, there is no doubt about that…

I read another book the other day, an assortment of poems, not sure of the author but this is real:

One day I’ll be out of this wheelchair, But something’s I won’t leave behind, The memories of life trapped in one, Here’s hoping they make me more kind.

Like I said I have found another love in writing down the interconnected thoughts and rambling ideas, it feels raw for me, and it helps me become more and more thoughtful as I can actively ask myself questions and realise things I never would have without searching.

Now as another day draws to a hopeful close I stood by and talked to the lighting director for the Avenger films in the Baltic Gallery. Right there in the bottom right hand corner of this photo.

I also stood for 20 minutes watching Rodney Graham sleep in the back of a car being driven through a city. Was pulled into his pictures so close so I could see every detail of the newspaper and that the two hands coming from each side of the newspaper were slightly different, getting that close made the heat from the luminescent lights behind almost pushed me away, curious.

Now that I finished reading my book and I exchanged it for a Louis Theroux paperback, I can immediately see that,

Weirdness comes from the alienness to [you or] me specifically.

I mean I don’t like trains, they are ‘weird’, but someone, somewhere does. I mean some art is ‘weird’ to me, but, someone made it for some reason and now I can appreciate that. In my doodling and scribbles I wrote this and I like it, you might not, might seem ‘weird’, but that doesn’t matter;

A perfectly groomed haircut,

A quick Maccas down the gullet,

Clothes perfectly matching – brown on brown,

Two men talking about profit.

What’s important to you?

I think I’ve worked out one thing I’m ‘good’ at, something I’m proud of.

I’m good at observing, reflecting and changing and in one word I sent to a dear friend on the other side of the world, Thoughtful. I am good at being thoughtful to myself and for the little and big things in this world and you know what, I really like that. Like each step I take now is meaningful, is definitive, is special because I can see the world for what it is. And if I can’t, doesn’t matter, I can think about it, talk about it, discuss it, write about it and come to a personal understanding.

Here is another piece of scribble I jotted down while staring out the Starbucks window.

So many things happen, right in front of me. I stare out the window. Someone presses the crossing button, waiting for safe passage. A crowd gathers, obviously a win for the lads, as mob chants fill the empty air. Two men hug, embrace, one with both fingers in the sky, as happy as Larry.

One young fella runs past and tries to kick a pigeon, trying to enjoy a scrap of food next to a used cigarette butt, the kick narrowly avoiding the bird as it’s wings flutter about.

Not judging I don’t deserve that, but I sit here and imagine what things I could of conjured up from the outside looking in on myself. Hopefully they do.

The last thing I notice before the green man appears is the bloke standing outside, enjoying his gelatine based sweets as I do… well sort of. He pulls, struggles as he grits his stained teeth on his lolly. The only thing I’d say to him is ‘Chew with your mouth shut!’

Bing! The green man springs to life like the rest of the street and the horde ventures across the road. Safe and sound and now gone, all that is left is the seven different men, standing in seven different positions, smoking their cigarettes and eyes fixed on their phones.

All the while I sit here and wonder why the coffee cups are so big and why the toilet code is 1965…

Honesty in the Wild

Hi. Essentially this is what this is what the last four days have consisted of…
Four days of walking my path have given me a lot of time to think, reflect, learn and really bring me back to simple, subjectively important things, things that make me, well me. This very small trip has helped me in one word ‘change’… I mean I didn’t meet many people, but those I did helped me just as much as any teacher, scholar or friend, the beauty in the stories I’ll tell from these individuals is as soon as they were there, they were just as quickly gone.

Let me start with something I scribbled down in my notebook before leaving York on day one, it went “it’s funny actually how I hadn’t been honest for so long. The last time I remember before I was 16 was when I would sit at Games by the Beach and lose Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments to 10 year olds, but, be completely content within myself.”

Since the start of my trip I’ve realised how easy it is to be honest, I identify with climbing trees, being on rooftops, hugging the shit out of people and fictional stuff because I can, because it’s who I am, now that’s a fantastic thought… This walk through its countless hours of strolling, thinking, writing and singing have been a catalyst for me to deepen my happiness and to also clear my mind in the weird and wacky wild.

Now to my first story of the trip because, boy oh boy do I have a large batch of goodies for your eyes and imagination to consume.

Night One – I had already topped my bucket list item of walking through a pine forest by setting up my tent in it to sleep. The night was calm and gorgeous as the sun finally began to sink. I was still jumpy at noises in the woods, as my body got used to cracks, birds and scuttering on the dense, pine needle floor. As the sun hid away behind the rolling hills in the distance I noticed something. An almost castle wall running the length of the field opposite me. Curious as I was I decided to follow it, armed with nothing but my book and drink bottle. It must have been an hour later it became dark, and I mean pitch black, infinite darkness. After searching for what must have been a solid hour back I couldn’t find my tent, gave up and gave in all at the same time. As I rested my head on some poor farmers crops and finally took the time to look up, I realised the captivating, endless and magical show the stars were putting on. It was completely still, silent and the cold I was feeling remained but was worth it… Morning had broken and I woke at the first sign of light in the East. It was an easy 10 minute walk back to camp in the freezing cold, icy morning, I’ve never been so scared of my fingers falling off than I was that morning.

This moment in time when I was so cold, was well worth it. It’s much like when people say “they see something so magnificent it takes all the pain away” I disagree, I think the pain remains forever, however, the pain is worth it when you see something worth seeing, or hear something worth hearing, taste something worth tasting or touch something worth touching… things that fill you with joy, excitement, adrenaline, whatever it is it makes you feel things you either didn’t know you could feel, or maybe just something you haven’t felt for a long, long time.

Alright Day Two was the beginning of something truly special for me; I found a place, not for you, but for me. A place that gave me everything I had ever wanted when I think back to those Location, Location, Location episodes I used to watch with mum of the English country side, dreaming about what if… well what if happened. I sat in the knee high grass after passing through a rickety, old gate with my back turned away from the trees. It was spectacular, green rolling hills that seemingly went on forever, ‘I can picture the giants roaming and the dragons flying’ I wrote in my book. The clouds dispersing and moving at different speeds depending on how close to my eyes they were. Sun shining, cows grazing and birds caught in the open, free air that blew across the valley. This is one of those moments I felt something, I could see my happiness, I actually yelled, all by myself feeling something real, very zazzy I think.

Down the path I met a single cow. No gate. No fence. Just a cow and me. It was quickly apparent to both the cow and myself neither of us was going to hurt the other. I felt safe so did the cow… The cow took the first step, let me pat it and continued to lie down infront of me. I didn’t hesitate, but for some reason I decided I was going to hug the crap out of this cow. I loved the cow. The cow loved me. Then we said goodbye. Quite poetic actually I think…

I feel another quote coming on, because who would have thought straight into my dream job last year I would of been sitting on a hill feeling things I can only remember feeling a handful of times before. Now this quote comes from a guy called Musk who was scared, scared of the dark as a kid. He was a curious kid a scientist at heart and realised that “dark just means the absence of photons in the visible wavelength – 400-700 nanometers. Then [he] thought, well, it’s really silly to be afraid of a lack of protons. Then [he] wasn’t afraid of the dark anymore.” Musk took a fear and made it a strength through understanding. In many of the paths I have taken or ended up on, I have realised of course do be careful, but, what I’m trying to say is, take the chance… what’s the worst that could happen? I did it now look at me, umm I’m not scared of the dark anymore and I am happier and more honest than ever allowing me to see the monsters and fairies in the garden for what they really are, tremendous.

Now I entered the forest early, must of been lunch time. This is where I had my first encounter with other walkers. Mr and Mrs Christmas (personally asked me to call them Mr and Mrs Claus) were in love, they had moved into the area so they could look at birds, butterflies and flowers. They said to me something I don’t think I’ll ever forget, it made me feel wonderful. They said after I asked them what birds they had been looking at through their obviously expensive binoculars. Their response was,

“We don’t know… But, just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t make it less beautiful, does it?”

Those bloody nipples, in one sentence and a quick question made me think, I mean really think about everything all over again. For the rest of that day I didn’t stop wondering about things, plants, bugs, rocks my experiences but I also saw, through a new set of lenses their ridiculously stunning(ness)?

It was getting late on Day Two, I’d seen nothing but forest for hours… when I turned a corner and my second meeting was about to happen. This time in the form of ‘Rob & Mick’ the retired, hobby historians and part time pea growers. They had been searching the forests I was in for tools and weapons from 9000-5000BC after the last Ice Age. They did and they had hooked me, I was so interested in everything they had to say. It had been a while and they were ready to go, they offered me a lift, *Should I take it* *Mum wouldn’t be happy about this* is all I thought, but did it anyway. Now they talked and talked “On this side is where the Vikings came the through, on your right that towering hill is from glacial run off” Mick stated. Now we had driven for a while and they didn’t want to let me out, they were happy telling me really interesting stuff. Eventually they kicked me out… I didn’t know where I was, couldn’t find where I was on the map, compass wasn’t helping either. So I crawled and struggled up a disgustingly steep hill so I could see a landmark… I found one in a farmer of the B-R-O-X-A Forest. A name I had become accustomed with from Micks relentless splurge of information “Yeah Rob, it is here somewhere, the Broxa Forest, that’s a Viking name, B-R-O-X-A”, thanks Mick! The rest doesn’t matter, I climbed a tree and wrote some notes before falling asleep.

Day Three begun, late, but had begun. Somehow everything felt brighter, fresher and more real, I felt like I was falling deeper in love with the Wild. Now today’s journey I’m not going to bore you with. It was a good day, hot with a nice breeze off the sea, first I got out of the forest, then walked across some beautiful green meadows until I reached the moors. The brown, enticing and encapsulating moors, or so I thought. This day I tried to find some waterfalls, I didn’t, so I searched for hours and hours, completely lost on my map… until I met Steven, I hitchhiked to the next town as it was getting dark and I had no idea where I was. An hour down the road to Sleights is where I made camp. What a stunning place, small but enough!

I set up and along came a man, a kid, a bloke, however you want to say it. He told me “Hi my name is Sam”, hi Sam. Now Sam was homeless, I thought he looked only fifteen, he told me twenty-four. Sam looked a lot like a guy I knew in primary school, I mean a little more dirty and rough. He told me of his history, it was intense, it doesn’t matter what he told me, it’s his to bear and it’s done, all I can say is, shitty luck… or if it’s a thing really shitty destiny so far…

Now Sam and I shared burritos he had three I had two and we chatted laughed a lot to be honest. He really like my dads favourite joke “what did the fish say when it ran into the wall?” Ouch? “Wrong, dam…” so did I! I invited Sam to come back in the morning for oats if he wanted to…

Day Four – Whitby was just around the corner and over the hill, no signs of Sam so I strutted my stuff down the motorway right into town, onto the sand and took it all in for a brief moment. What a walk.

Now if you made it this far well done and thanks. I’m still trying to work out three things I’m good at so hopefully that happens. But I’m going to end on another quote, this time Joanne Limburg again from her book ‘The Autistic Alice’:

14. The winner is the child who still has a bit of Curly Wurly left when their sibling has none.

Take your time, slow down, be honest, recognise the beauty in things and be dam[ned] like that fish if you don’t end up with that last bit of Curly Wurly, unless you don’t need it of course then give it to someone who does.

3 things YOU’RE good at

So I have been stuck in York since Saturday well I say stuck, this place is like a mix between Diagon Alley and The Vatican with all its cathedrals and churches I mean it’s the tits. Now today’s post has been brewing since a person who I sat next to tonight, at a haunting service, filled with the misty clouds of incense and the undeniably angelic sounds of the choir, held at the York Minster at the end of the road asked me a very specific question.
She said to me Australians are really “good” at talking about things they are bad at or if they say something they are “good” at it ends in a laugh and a lack of sincerity, “almost like you’re ashamed of it…”

Her next move was asking me “what are three things you are good at?” and I honestly still can’t answer this question. It has bugged me first of all why I can’t think of three things I’m “good” at, I mean it seems so simple, but also the swiftness of the Canadian bloke sitting at the other end of the table who said without a stutter “ice-hockey, travelling and drinking!” Now this isn’t for people to comment and tell me what I’m “good” at, that’s not the point, I don’t want to hear what I’m “good” at, I want to know what I’m “good” at…

Now the more I questioned this the more I am realising, how I don’t have any particularly mastered skills, I have never stuck to one thing for long enough to really be “good” at it or understand it, or is it that I haven’t ever done meaningful tasks… I guess that’s subjective, but that doesn’t make it anymore false. Now I think about it, I should of talked to Rob and Pete more, I should of extracted their knowledge and learnt about building, history, electrical work, science (there you go Pete), the aboriginal people of Australia, poets, even my auntie Jan Jan about gardening, because it is in these sorts of things I’ve found a love and passion. I should of used my grandma to learn about her ‘once upon a time’, I should of listened at High School and learnt French, I should of been motivated by my best friend who saw it through, because now my head is so full of almost useless things it’s hard to train my brain to hold onto information I really want to know. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the past is the past, I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for that, I do miss High School even though I told mum I knew I wouldn’t in my 16 year old infinite wisdom…

It’s just now it has seemed like a race for me to read as much as I can, I mean I found myself listening to Kate Tempests poetic words while trying to read Joanne Limburgs poems from ‘Autistic Alice’ based on her association with Alice from “Alice Through the Looking Glass”. I have been sitting reading books on history while trying to talk to a historian named Vernon. I have been reading the bible while trying to take in the dizzying sites of the cathedrals. It’s like I’m always playing catchup with what I want to be doing, it is actually quite a funny thing, almost like I’m continuously running after a carrot that is still planted and never stops getting bigger and bigger with the more things I see and more people I talk to.

I mean it’s not just me and things I haven’t done but the people I meet who are amazingly “good” artists because they have stuck to it, ridiculously “good” horse riders with a real understanding of the animals and teaching them, “good” linguists who can understand, read, write and speak a plethora of languages, “good” dancers, “good” historians, the list goes on and on.
“Having the required qualities; of a high standard” – Oxford Dictionary”

I mean I know I like things, even love;

I loved dancing to techno, I love rock climbing, I love exploring, I love history, I love languages, I love animals, I love poetry, I love philosophy, I love laughing, I love music, I love space, I love star gazing, I love festivals, I love making friends, I love walking barefooted inside and outdoors, I love understanding, I love smelling, I love listening, I love Harry Potter, I love English stonemasonry, I love castles, I love ancient civilisations, I love cathedrals, I love ice-skating, I love trees; BUT, I don’t believe I’m “good” at any of these things and it’s like since I’ve begun travelling I want to be good at them all at once…

Here’s a great example yesterday. I went to Clifford’s Castle and joined in on a tour group. The tour guide, black cowboy hat, flared jeans and all was just beginning to explain that in the 11th century the small group of Jewish people living in York under the rule of a Christian King had taken refuge in the castle. The mob outside waited for 9-10 days for them to come out so they could either baptise them or kill them… until there was the massacre. The castle went up in flames and the people inside were slaughtered. Tragic, devastating, horrible, yeah, but that’s the way history goes in a lot if not most cases. Then later in the mid 17th century the Jewish population returned to York, this time bringing with them coffee! So anyway I sat down near some swans and their babies, listened to my VegemiteonTour playlist and tried to draw the castle because that’s something I’ve started doing as well. The point being I tried to fit in history, drawing, nature, music and photos.

One thing is I don’t want all this learning to stop me from being a happy person, spontaneous guy or a bore because that’s all I can think about it. Soooo I’ll still go on down this path trying to find out ‘what are three things I am “good” at’… However I’m not worried, I’m happy to slow down, try everything and eventually work out “when I have acquired qualities; of a high standard” in three things…

By the way I love you and I double dog dare you to say three things you’re good at… if you can work it out tell me in the comments, I’d like to know!

Off grid yeah?…

Not a bad morning you might say… well let me tell you a little story about how I got here;

Yesterday I took off from Leeds, everything was seemingly in my favour, sun was out while everything was packed and ready to go. The morning session was good got yelled at by a guy named, well that doesn’t matter, I’m going to call him Dick. Dick thought my bag was a little silly, he didn’t like the fact I have a quote sown on, “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others why wouldn’t we?”… he decided to kick up a stink, so I gave him the old one two, two one one… and ended up with him saying “could you come back to Leeds and teach me?” See Dick had Aspergers and said when he first saw me he didn’t like the fact I was eating a wrap and therefore didn’t like me, but once he understood where the message came from and I wasn’t a bad person who likes to eat wraps in public we had a marvellous chat.

Now further down the path, I met another man, bet you can’t guess his name. Doesn’t matter either, let’s call him Dick as well! Now Dick was an avid bird watcher, he showed me one of the birds that lived there through his telescope and also helped me hear another quite rare bird that makes a strange sound almost like “when the soft wind blows over the top of your glass bottle” – Dick. Now this doesn’t really have much to do with my reason for why I’m back on grid, but I liked that two blokes with the same name can give me two completely different experiences in the wild.

Okay back on track, my mind had been racing all day, in all the silence I couldn’t stop thinking about people from Leeds, what time it was and how my shoulders hurt, things that really shouldn’t effect my adventure. It took almost all my mental strength to stop and listen, think, smell and really become a part of the wilderness I want to be in!

As the path led me down the canal, I got enthusiastic “Hiyas!” from old men on barges slowly passing by and help with directions, when eventually I passed Methley, then Allerton Bywater, Castleford and got to a place called Ferrybridge as the cold started to set in and the sun was starting to set. Now I thought I would be smart and use my new compass to lead the way. An hour passed and when I finally asked someone where I was, the reply was “DARRINGTON!” in a high pitched and almost aggressive tone. So the path led me the wrong way and then back the way I came. By this stage the sun was getting dangerously low. I made it to Knottingley and was continuously on the lookout for a spot to set up when all of a sudden without any warning apart from the tape I put on one toe earlier in the day, it’s like my feet gave up and five blisters all popped at the same time… I got my boots off, taped the absolute crap out of my feet and tried as hard as I could to limp my way down a side road I saw.
Eventually at the end of the road feet bleeding out of every hole in my foot and after hobbling along with what must of looked like someone who had just been tortured in a movie I made it to a bridge. Stubbs Bridge is where I chose to camp.

Now Stubbs Bridge was next to a railway, a coal mine, a solar energy plant, the canal and in between two large nuclear power plant looking sites. I saw another happy looking enough guy I’d like to call Dick on his barge pushing through the water at a snails pace, I thought nothing of it. Sooo my tent was set up, I was ready to cook my rice and mushrooms on my new trangea, but, nope, wrong lighter fluid… So instead of a hot meal I sat down and ate my packet of raw mushrooms and began reading. I must of been reading for a little while as the sun was nowhere to be seen…

All of a sudden, two policemen came walking down the path, around the corner and found me. They let me know “we have been tipped off you were here, you are not allowed to stay!” So of course I didn’t want to cause a fuss, packed up and went on my way. After a while back down the road, bleeding again I turned back and went to my hidden spot again. Now I’m not sure but I assume that Dick might of been the little bird who tipped them off. Anyways I was back, set up and ready to sleep……..

I woke up to a strange sound, in the dark? It sounded like a machine gun. It wasn’t thankfully. It was a guy pulling his barge up to the side. His name was “Dick”, but more like the bird watcher named “Dick”. Now Dick was kind, gentle and as tired as me, but gave me a cup of tea before I went back to sleep……..

When I woke no more barge, but a beautiful morning. So I set off, I began walking this time in vans instead of my Docs. Immediately my toes bled and the pain returned. I literally almost can’t walk. It took me 5 hours to walk to Eggsborough, then to Selby where I gave up and got the bus to york so I can heal my feet and get some real walking boots.
So I got a really perfect quote from Chris Townsends book Out There – “Far better to learn from those with more experience, whether in the wilds or from books, blogs and articles” and I now understand it doesn’t take away from the adventure if you are comfortable in certain ways, I mean better to have real walking boots and a working compass than not being able to follow the path at all!

So hopefully in a couple of days I can explore York, my feet can heal and I am able to actually go off grid and explore the wild at my own pace, without the pain and in some direction wether it be right or wrong.

I’m a happy little VegemiteonTour…

Hey y’all let’s get this started shall we! This trip of mine has already been full of exciting adventure, complete freedom, ridiculous amounts of learning and just meeting super special people everywhere I have been! But we are not going to start from the start, not only because so much has already happened, but because everyday is literally a new day for me, no plans and no expectations…

My first post starts in Leeds where I have found a home over the past couple of months at a peculiarly perfect place called “The Art Hostel”. This is where one day I met an incredibly bad painter who I was lucky enough to help out, I’m going to call her “Oops” after a famous horse, was it fate or was it luck, who am I to tell. Anyway after a while we got talking, it wasn’t long before I was completely intrigued by Oops, her ins and outs, her story. Oops told me as we shared a delicious beverage all about Plato’s Cave Theory…

Basically in a few words it talks about how the cavemen or women who are using their eyes can see the cave wall in front of them, and this is all they know. If there is a fire behind the cavemen or women they can see the flickers of light which produces a great shadow on the cave wall. However those cavemen or women who only look at the cave wall don’t really know what is behind them, so therefore they have to use their imaginations, what they know about the cave wall and create an idea in their heads to understand what is going on behind them…

In this theory we can understand society, people understand what they see, hear, feel and their experiences. However as we know from history things CHANGE and their has only been a small amount of people (cavemen/women) who have had the ability to turn around and see the fire and directly creating new understandings…

For me this walk of the UK and Europe will hopefully open my eyes, I mean it already has in so many ways, but I mean really CHANGE me really help me turn around and see that beautiful, warm and magical fire!

So that’s my first post, that’s the story of Oops and I and this is my first steps away from Leeds into the unknown.

Ps. This first little bit of my post are going to be quite scarce, as I am not going to be staying with families, hostels or couch surfers but going more off grid. So I will see you when I see you…

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